See Another Side of the Paris of Italy
Disclosure: This story contains affiliate links to my book, Taste Torino.
There’s so much to see and do in Turin — you’ll spend plenty of time looking up and around at exquisite architecture and interesting sights. Plus, it’s home to several unique museums.
But, while you’re busy looking all around, you may miss out on these more hidden spots! If you want to make your trip to Turin even more special, I highly recommend you visit some (or all!) of the following destinations — some of which haven’t even been visited by locals!
It’s in these places that you’ll get a more authentic taste of Turin. Plus, they’re not cliché tourist spots — you’ll never feel crowded or ripped-off. Most of them are free, or require the purchase of a drink or coffee (but it’s totally worth it).
Here are a handful of secret places I’ve discovered in Turin. I hope you discover them, too.
Narrow Streets off of Via Giussepe Garibaldi
No trip to Turin is satisfactory until visiting Via Garibaldi. It’s the street in the heart of the city center where Torinesi and visitors alike go out to see and be seen. On this street, you’ll find all the major shopping stores plus a few cafes and even some smaller, mom-and-pop style stores.
But the real magic is when you decide to venture off the beaten path, taking Via delle Orfane or Via della Consolata, for example. You’ll find smaller, more quaint shops and may even run into ancient obelisks, too.
These smaller, narrow streets have a more characteristically Italian charm to them that Via Garibaldi doesn’t offer. If you’re looking for read-deal Italian culture, you’ll find it in these smaller streets.
While in Turin, you’ll probably venture over to Piazza Veneto — one of the largest squares in Europe. If you talk to locals, many will tell you that it is in fact the largest squares. What they really mean to say is it’s the largest square with covered walkways or arcades. Sorry, Torinesi!
At night, during all four seasons, the area explodes with college students and adults of all ages grabbing drinks with friends. In the daytime, or just before the sun sets, make your way over here.
Head across the bridge towards La Gran Madre (The Grand Mother) church (you can’t miss it! Unfortunately, not many tourists visit her beauty ever — please do!) and start climbing.
You’ll want to wear comfy shoes for this. After hiking for 10–20 minutes or so (be warned: it’s steep!), you’ll arrive at the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Monte dei Cappuccini where you’ll take in breathtaking views of all of Turin.
The hike is well worth the huffing and puffing it takes to make it to the top!
This isn’t a particular destination so much as it is a particular area. While most tourists will end up staying in the center, there’s plenty of opportunity to take in authentic Italian life in Crocetta.
Crocetta hosts some of Turin’s more wealthy residents, though many university students who study at the nearby Politecnico di Torino have also made home in this area, too.
The area lies just south of the metro stop Re Umberto and is off the radar for many tourists. You’ll find delicious options for pizza and pasta here, and Crocetta also makes a great place to grab a drink.
Best of all, you’ll be surrounded by stunning, exquisitely preserved architecture that’s unique to this area.
Stroll Along the River and Bridges
Make your way over to the Parco del Valentino where you’ll find plenty of people sunbathing (except for winter, of course), families spending time together, and locals and tourists alike grabbing a coffee outside accompanied by a view of the river. Keep an eye out for squirrels, too — there are plenty!
One of the most famous landmarks along the Po River is a remodeled historic village, the Borgo Medievale, which I’ve also touched on below. Beyond this central hub that features the Borgo, there’s plenty to do and see if you decide to venture north or south along the trails adjacent to the river.
Depending on how far you venture along the trails, you’ll be taken to beautiful bridges that boast lovely views along the way. Walking along the river is the perfect way to unwind and see the natural beauty Turin has to offer.
Lingotto and Eataly
Since few tourists venture out of the city center, many miss out on seeing Lingotto and experiencing the magic of Eataly.
Lingotto is a residential area that has an indoor mall; the nearest indoor mall to the center of Turin. Well, minus Rinascente, an upscale department store along La Grange, one of the main streets in central Turin. The Lingotto Mall is conveniently situated next to Eataly.
Eataly is a huge, upscale grocery store that’s well worth a visit — Italian products from all across the country are sold here, and everything is of top quality. The tomatoes are a little brighter, the wines a little richer and the meats a bit more tender at Eataly.
Sure, the prices are a bit higher, but if you want a food souvenir or to taste something out of the ordinary — go here!
Bonus: nearby, on Corso Spezia, next to the metro stop, Spezia, there’s an outdoor market. This is where I did the bulk of my grocery shopping for produce, eggs, meat and even some electronics while living in Turin. You’ll find the prices are very reasonable and cheaper than supermarkets.
Basilica di Superga
If you venture into the northeastern parts of Turin, you may catch glimpses of the Basilica di Superga. It’s an immaculate, yellow-toned building overlooking all of the city.
While La Superga is a must-visit spot, it’s much less accessible thanMonte Capuccini. The Superga lies to the far Northwest of the city, be sure to budget at least half a day to visit La Superga. In fact, despite living nearby on Corso Quintino Sella, for three months, I never went up there myself! You’ll have to go and tell me how it is!
This is the site where the Royal Family of Savoy was laid to rest and features out-of-this-world views of both the cities and the Alps (or, at least I’d imagine so!)
Don’t worry — you won’t have to walk up the hill (though you can if you’re up for a hike); there’s the Tranvia Sassi Superga, an antique train that can take you up there. It costs 8€ for a round-trip adult ticket, and the journey takes 20 minutes.
The views are stunning during the ride up!
Olympic Bridge (La Passarella)
While you’re in the south side of Turin exploring the Lingotto mall, you’ll want to head south, past the food court, and venture out the exit doors. Which exit doors? You’ll know which ones; if there are groups of employees or students on break, smoking, those are it!
Head out the doors and you’ll find yourself on a magical walkway (though it’s not so magical at night. Just pass through in the daytime).
That walkway leads out to the Passarella which allows pedestrians to cross over the multiple train tracks, connecting the Lingotto area with the Santa Rita area (where the Economics faculty of the University of Turin is in, which is where I studied). While on the walk, which takes 10–20 minutes, you’ll encounter spectacular views of the surrounding Alps and witness the splendor of the Olympic arch.
Once you get to the other side, you’ll see the remains of what used to be the Olympic Village of 2006. It’s interesting, but not as beautiful as the walk itself.
Borgo Medievale of Turin
If you ever feel like walking through an open-air museum for free, this is your chance! The Borgo Medievale, located in the Parco del Valentino, features a medieval castle that’s been completely restored to its previous beauty. While you’re in the village along the Fiume Po (Po River) you’ll feel immersed in Medieval times in this restructured village.
If you’re looking for sights, eats and souvenirs, there’s a book and print shop, a museum, an outdoor café (where you can get gelato on warm days — or heck — even in the winter if you’re daring!) and gift shops full of souvenir armor pieces and Harry Potter knick-knacks.
The Borgo is a great place to enjoy any time of the year.
Rooftop Bar at the San Paolo Skyscraper
While this isn’t technically a rooftop, the bar is on the top floor in Turin’s only skyscraper (for now! New construction is underway south of Lingotto). You’ll be able to relax with a 360-degree view — plus, you’ll get to enjoy a tasty drink. Sure, the drinks may be a bit more pricey than what you’d pay in other places, but the spectacular view is worth it.
You’ll see a completely different side of Turin from up top. If you’re looking for a unique evening experience, this is it! Just get off at the Vinzaglio metro stop and look for the huge skyscraper.
The bar is called “Piano35” (meaning 35th Story) and can easily be found using Google Maps.
Giardino Bottero “Little Paris Village” in Turin
It’s easy to miss this enchanting hidden gem while in Turin — fortunately, you picked up this book and I’m letting you in on the secret. While this sweet spot is called “Giardino Bottero” on Google Maps, to me this place will always be called the “Little Paris Village”.
There are a few restaurants and a couple places to grab gelato in this picturesque plaza. There’s a nice “vibe” that overtakes you while in this place. The architecture of the surrounding buildings is immaculate and ornate; it becomes especially impressive given the unique triangular, and tight-knit feel of this plaza.
Whether looking for a gelato or a place to sit down, this is an intimate and tranquil place to do so.
Challenge: Circolo dei Lettori
This place is top-secret (many locals don’t even know about it!), and in fact, I debated whether I should include this place or not. Well, here it is, so I obviously included it. But there’s a catch. It’s up to you to figure out how to get there, and even more challenging, how to get in. Good luck!
For an unforgettable time in Turin, you’ll want to add the following to your “must visit” list:
- Via Garibaldi
- Monte Cappuccini
- River Po & Bridges
- Lingotto & Eataly
- Basilica di Superga
- La Passarella
- Borgo Medievale
- San Paolo’s Rooftop Bar
- Giardino Bottero
- Circolo dei Lettori
For more in-depth information on Turin, order my book.
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